Addiction: Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling
Labour Party Manifesto 2020

Addiction is an issue that affects all parts of Ireland, from urban housing estates to rural villages. Labour supports a health-led approach to addiction, which recognises the common issues across alcohol, misuse of prescription medicines and illegal drugs. Addiction to gambling, especially online gambling, is a growing problem with some of the same issues (and solutions) as other types of addiction.


Labour will ensure that the Public Health Alcohol Act, including Minimum Unit Pricing, is implemented in full. 


Labour will review the health and addiction problems associated with e-cigarettes and implement measures to discourage young people from taking up vaping.

Addiction Services

Labour will increase funding to the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces, as part of a process to strengthen their community development role to address the root causes of substance misuse.

Labour will ensure that Ireland’s first overdose prevention centre operates successfully, and this model will be rolled out to other areas and to cover a wider range of substances of addiction. We will expand the availability of addiction treatment services across the country, recognising that substance misuse is now prevalent in every part of the country. We will expand public access to anti-overdose drugs such as Naloxone, for example so that first responders can carry it.

Labour will formally recognise that addiction to drugs is a health problem, and will not penalise minor possession of drugs by people who are addicted. However, drug trafficking will remain illegal, and Garda resources will be focused on serious traffickers, drug-related intimidation and violent drug gangs.

Labour will implement a strategy to strengthen communities that have been effectively abandoned by successive governments, including deeply disadvantaged urban areas and rural towns and villages where most commercial activity has ceased. Labour will fund urban regeneration and development projects, and foster community bodies and social enterprises focused on community development work.

Stopping Drug Gangs

Labour will establish local commissions to deal with violent drug gangs, which are now operating across the whole country, to ensure violent criminals and gang leaders are brought to justice. Labour will develop supports to counter-act social and economic marginalisation that often underlies the involvement of young people in the drug trade. Labour will provide the Gardaí with all the resources they need to bring violent gang leaders to justice.

Labour will expand the role of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), so that a unit of the CAB targets and takes away the criminal assets of lower-level criminals to deter younger people from being attracted to gang activity.

Labour will establish a Gun Crime Commission, to learn from other jurisdictions the best way to eliminate gun crime and other violent crime, which have escalated in recent years. This will also examine why options like the Special Criminal Court have not been used to target violent drug gangs, despite this being permitted in law.

Labour will work to promote local policing forums and a community policing model, with a concentration of resources in the most deprived areas. We will increase the number of civilians working within the Garda administration.


Labour will implement a strategy to tighten the regulation of gambling and to reduce problem gambling in society. We will close down illegal casinos and illegal forms of gaming.

Labour will ban the use of credit cards for gambling